KIGALI - The Government will continue to support the film industry as it is considered a vehicle for change and development as well as a channel for socio-economic cohesion.
The observation was made by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture (MINISPOC), Protais Mitali at the official opening of the 7th edition of the Rwanda Film Festival, on Saturday.
Mitali, who was the guest of honour at the colourful opening of the festival at the Rwanda Cinema Centre’s (RCC) Kwetu Film Institute, said that as the country progresses impressively on different fronts, film is increasingly becoming a major component of socio-economic development and a driver for social cohesion.
“As the country moves at a speed that is being appreciated by many, film is one of the components of our culture and social development of a nation which is very much supported by the government and in particular, MINISPOC,” Mitali said.
He noted that as the country soon gets the first film and television school - the Kwetu Film Institute - there is hope the process will also speed up and consolidate professionalism in the field of the media and film.
“This (the institute), will not only bring Hillywood to growth but it will also get our local industry to a very competitive level, similar to what Hollywood has done over the last 100 years,” Mitali said.
Minister Mitali commended RCC for organising the festival which has since gained international acclaim, noting that the government is committed to support the budding movie industry.
“I wish to commend the Rwanda Cinema Centre and other supporters of this initiative to continue with their commitment to this industry that will indeed contribute to the social, culture and development exposition of our heritage,” Mitali said.
Eric Kabera, the CEO and founder of Rwanda Cinema Centre and Kwetu Film Institute, highlighted the long journey of the cinema centre and the institute- a promising project that lacked the resources from the beginning.
Kabera said that from the beginning, he could not have envisaged RCC to be where it is today. The project neither had the finances nor potential donors but, today, RCC boasts of multi-million storied complex nearing completion, thanks to the hard work.
The Gaculiro-based facility which will include a state-of-the-art cinema hall will house the Kwetu Film Insitute, which among other things, would provide courses in acting, producing, script writing, cinematography, sound design and stage production.
The festival was graced by a delegation of Hollywood based mentors, directors and scriptwriters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who have been in the country to conduct acting and production lectures.
The delegation is led by Hollywood greats Phil Alden Robinson, Carol Littleton, Willie Burton, Lee Daniels, Stephanie, Alfre Woodard, Wynn Thomas and John Bailey , Alen Blake (Kinyarwanda), Deatra Harries, as well as Emmanuel Itier (The Invocation) Ellen Harrington and Lanre Idewu.
Earlier in a press conference, the Hollywood personalities who have been around the country said that they are profoundly impressed by Rwanda’s progress and determination as well as the country’s promising movie industry.
The week-long festival will feature different films; from short documentaries to feature films from Africa and across the world on top of three Rwandan movies which featured at the Tribeca film festival.
Prominent among other films is the highly rated Africa United and the premiering of Kinyarwanda. The films will be screened in Nyagatare, Rubavu, Gicumbi, Musanze, Karongi, Huye and Kigali.
The launch attracted various government officials, diplomats, prospective actors and a foreign legion of movie stakeholders.